Last week we talked about studying God’s definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13. I hope you were able to invest some time in studying this passage. If you did, you will be better prepared to disciple your children today. (If you didn’t manage to do the study this past week, you can still do so. Work on it this week, and then come back to this post after you have spent several days studying the passage.)
Deuteronomy 6:6 tells us that God’s Word should be on our hearts, and that we should diligently teach that Word to our children. Nothing takes the place of God’s Word impressed on our own hearts when we are seeking to teach our children to submit to God and His Word.
If we are actively studying the Word and seeking to obey it, it will become much easier and more natural for us to talk of it while we sit in our house, while we walk by the way, while we lie down, and while we rise up (Deut. 6:7). In addition, if our children see us treasuring God’s Word and seeking to submit to it, they will be much more open to viewing it as the authority in their own lives.
If you made sticky notes with pictures or words last week, make sure they are posted around the house in strategic places. Do your children have trouble with anger and irritability in the car? Are you going out with them today? Post your reminder for verse 5, “It is not irritable or resentful,” on the dashboard.
Are you planning on a video or game sometime during the day? Do you ever have problems with disagreements over which movie to watch or which game to play? Post your reminder for verse 5, “Love does not insist on its own way,” in that room.
Are you likely to become impatient with the children while working on schoolwork together? Post your verse 4, “love is patient,” reminder in that room.
Do you tend to get a lot of reports of others’ wrongdoings as you work in the kitchen? Post a reminder of verse 6, “Does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth,” over the kitchen sink.
If you have a specific room that you go to with your children when disciplining them, keep your Bible in that room, with a marker at 1 Corinthians 13.
Reread 1 Corinthians 13 one more time. Recite it to yourself. Make a special point of keeping this passage in mind today as you love and train your children. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you, and pray throughout the day for God to give you opportunities to apply the truths of 1 Corinthians 13.
Start out the day by reading the passage with your children. Read it in a translation that they will understand. Talk about it briefly and close with something like, “Let’s see how well we can obey this passage today.” Pray with them for God’s help to obey Him.
Then be prepared when teaching opportunities arise throughout the day. Your sticky note cue cards, posted in strategic locations, will help you remember and apply specific verses. You can also carry a copy of the passage on a small card in a pocket for easy reference.
Here are a few examples of possible scenarios:
You’re heading for the car. Two children are arguing about who gets the favored seat. Use God’s Word to help them see their sin and guide them in choosing to do what is right. “Do you boys love each other? Good. I know you do. God says in 1 Corinthians 13 that love ‘does not insist on its own way.’ This is a chance to demonstrate your love by putting the other person first.”
(Of course, you may still face the challenge of both children thinking the other person should have the privilege of putting him first. Then, if you know your Scripture, you can go on to remind them that the first shall be last (Matt. 19:30), or that we are commanded to not exalt ourselves (Matt. 23:12). “You miss out on pleasing God and on being blessed by God when you refuse to put others ahead of yourself. For today, I would like you both to take the back seats. Who else can we let enjoy this seat?”
You’re reviewing phonograms again with Susie, and she still isn’t remembering them. Your voice starts to communicate your impatience, and Susie is getting flustered in response to your attitude. Stop yourself, and confess your impatience to Susie. “I’m sorry I’m being impatient with you, Susie. Will you forgive me? God has told us that love is patient. I love you, so I’m going to work, with God’s help, on being more patient. I know you are doing your best, and that this is hard work for you. Let’s go over this one more time, and I’ll try to do better.”
You’re at the table. Daniel is already starting to devour his mashed potatoes, but everyone is not served yet, and his little brother Benjamin is impatiently grumbling about the fact that he doesn’t have any potatoes yet.
“Daniel, God tells us that love is not rude. Are you doing something that is impolite? Let’s love each other by waiting until everyone is served before starting to eat. That’s part of honoring each other.”
“Benjamin, love is patient, isn’t it? And love bears all things. We all need to work on patience while we work on better manners together. Can you be patient, while everyone else gets their potatoes, too?”
What lessons has God taught you? Share these with your children when they relate to different situations throughout the day. In what ways has He called you to change? Help your children understand that you, like they, are called and strengthened to obey God.
Work on applying 1 Corinthians 13 throughout the next week. God’s Word, with the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, accomplishes God’s purposes. You may not see immediate results, but I believe you will see changes. Trust Him. Faithfully and gently appeal to your children’s consciences with the truth of God’s Word, and trust God with the results.
It would be wonderful if you could share some of your experiences here in the comments over the next week. What specific situations arose and how did you use 1 Corinthians 13 to instruct your children? What were the results? We can learn a lot from each other, as we take the time to share. May God bless your efforts!